link to page 1 British Broadcasting Corporation Room BC2 A5 Broadcast Centre White City Wood Lane London W12 7TP
Telephone 020 8008 2882 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent by Email: email@example.com
8th August 2018
Dear Ms Fairchild Freedom of Information request – RFI20181529
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 4th August 2018, seeking the following information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000:
Please tel me the number of complaints since Jo Whiley joined Simon Mayo in the Drivetime Show?
The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of
‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you. Part VI
of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters
is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”. The
BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or
information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.1
You may not be aware that one of the main policy drivers behind the limited application of the Act to
public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of expression and the rights of the media under Article
10 European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to
impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been
recognised by the European Court of Human Rights. Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial
factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.
That said, the BBC makes a huge range of information available about our programmes and content on
bbc.co.uk. We also proactively publish information covered by the Act on our publication scheme and
regularly handle requests for information under the Act.
1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure which follows this letter. Please note
that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the BBC.
The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act. If you
disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact details are:
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF telephone
01625 545 700. http://www.ico.org.uk
Please note that should the Information Commissioner’s Office decide that the Act does cover this
information, exemptions under the Act might then apply.
Yours sincerely Information Rights
Freedom of Information
From January 2005 the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 gives a general
right of access to al types of recorded information held by public authorities.
The Act also sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of
obligations on public authorities. The term “public authority” is defined in the
Act; it includes all public bodies and government departments in the UK. The
BBC, Channel 4, S4C and MG Alba are the only broadcasting organisations
covered by the Act.
Application to the BBC
The BBC has a long tradition of making information available and accessible. It
seeks to be open and accountable and already provides the public with a
great deal of information about its activities. BBC Audience Services operates
24 hours a day, seven days a week handling telephone and written comments
and queries, and the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk provides an extensive online
It is important to bear this in mind when considering the Freedom of
Information Act and how it applies to the BBC. The Act does not apply to the
BBC in the way it does to most public authorities in one significant respect. It
recognises the different position of the BBC (as wel as Channel 4 and S4C) by
saying that it covers information “held for purposes other than those of
journalism, art or literature”. This means the Act does not apply to information
held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output (TV, radio, online etc), or
information that supports and is closely associated with these creative
A great deal of information within this category is currently available from the
BBC and wil continue to be so. If this is the type of information you are looking
for, you can check whether it is available on the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk or
contact BBC Audience Services.
The Act does apply to al of the other information we hold about the
management and running of the BBC.
The BBC's aim is to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services
that inform, educate and entertain. It broadcasts radio and television
programmes on analogue and digital services in the UK. It delivers interactive
services across the web, television and mobile devices. The BBC's online
service is one of Europe's most widely visited content sites. Around the world,
international multimedia broadcaster BBC World Service delivers a wide range
of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless
handheld devices, together with BBC World News, the commercially-funded
international news and information television channel.
The BBC's remit as a public service broadcaster is defined in the BBC Charter
and Agreement. It is the responsibility of the Ofcom (the BBC’s independent
regulator) to ensure that the organisation delivers against this remit by setting
key objectives, approving strategy and policy, and monitoring and assessing
performance. Ofcom also safeguard the BBC's independence and ensure the
Corporation is accountable to its audiences and to Parliament.